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First-Time Homebuyers: A Guide to Conveyancing

First-Time Homebuyers: A Guide to Conveyancing

#An Overview of the Conveyancing Process

It’s an exciting journey to become a homeowner. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, the world of real estate and conveyancing may seem complex, but we’re here to guide you through the process. Let’s explore the conveyancing process.

Step 1: Instruction

The process begins when you instruct a firm of solicitors to represent you and to handle all the legal aspects of the property transaction on your behalf.

Step 2: Contract Review

Once your conveyancer receives the contract and title deeds from the seller’s solicitor, they will examine them to ensure they are in order, that your interests are protected, and to identify any questions that need to be raised.

Step 3: Property and Conveyancing Searches

Searches are carries out to unearth any potential issues that might affect the property. These include local authority searches, environmental searches, and water and drainage searches. They provide valuable information about the property and may give rise to further questions that need to be raised with the sellers.

Step 4: Surveys and Valuations

Property surveys and valuations are crucial to help understand the property’s condition and market value, and to help identify any hidden issues. You will be advised to commission a survey. Once you receive the report, you conveyancer will review the section regarding the legal implications and make any relevant further enquiries.

Step 5: Enquiries

Your conveyancer will raise enquiries with the seller’s conveyancer regarding the property, and the seller’s solicitor will provide responses. Your conveyancer will then report to you to ensure that you fully understand all of the aspects and quirks of the property you are buying.

Step 6: Signing the Contract and Transfer Deed

Once you are satisfied with the property and the contract terms, you will sign the physical Contract and Transfer Deed in preparation for Exchange of Contacts. Your agreement to purchase the property is not yet legally binding and either party can still withdraw from the purchase at any time. Contracts only become legally binding once they have been exchanged (see step 7).  You will also agree a date for completion at this time.

Step 7: Exchange of Contract

After both parties have signed their copies of the Contract and Transfer Deed, your conveyancer will exchange contracts with the seller’s conveyancer. This step makes the agreement legally binding. It is at this stage that the deposit becomes payable. The standard deposit is 10% of the purchase price, and it is usually transferred to the seller’s conveyancer to hold until legal completion has taken place (usually a week or two after exchange of contracts).

You commit to purchase the property in the condition it is in at the time that the contracts are exchanged. It is therefore wise to arrange to inspect the property on the morning of the proposed exchange date to ensure that no damage has been inflicted on the property since the last time you viewed it.

Once contracts have been exchanged, you must complete the purchase even if the property is damaged between the date that contracts are exchanged and the date that legal completion takes place. You should therefore put buildings insurance in place from the date of exchange of contracts.

If you do not complete the purchase on the agreed completion date, you will forfeit your 10% deposit and the seller may rescind the contract and remarket the property.

Step 8: Title Transfer

On the agreed-upon completion date, the legal ownership of the property will be transferred from the seller to you. Your conveyancer will oversee this process to ensure that it occurs smoothly and in compliance with all legal requirements. It is at this point that the balance of the purchase price is transferred to the seller’s conveyancer.

Step 9: Stamp Duty Land Tax

Your conveyancing solicitor will then handle the payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax on your behalf to ensure that it’s accurately calculated, the tax return is correctly completed, and the tax is paid to HM Revenue and Customs.

Step 10: Land Registry

The final step involves registering you as the new owner of the property at the Land Registry. This ensures that your legal ownership is officially recorded. Your conveyancer will help handle the registration.

As a first-time homebuyer, it is vital to understand the conveyancing process, which can safeguard your interests and ensure your property purchase is legally sound. If you have any questions or require expert legal guidance on your journey to homeownership, our team at Hill and Company Solicitors is here to assist you. Don’t hesitate to contact us on 0161 928 3201 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Hill and Company Solicitors

4-8 Market Street, Altrincham

Cheshire WA14 1QD


0161 928 3201*


Hill and Company Solicitors in Altrincham Cheshire, offer a wide range of legal services. Our departments are headed by experienced senior solicitors who are specialists in their areas of Law.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for further details of our services or if you have a legal matter we can help you with.
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